USA Hockey Magazine, June 2021 – By Shaun Hathaway
WhenAnatoly Tarasov took over the Burgeoning Soviet hockey program in 1946, he had little experience and even fewer resources to work with. But that didn’t stop the father of Soviet hockey from building an international powerhouse. The grace, strength, precision and style demonstrated by the Soviet brand of hock-ey transcended and changed the modern game. Often described as an intricate and flowing approach that emphasized puck possession and teamwork over brute force and individual achievement, Tarasov used a multi-sport approach to develop the athleticism of his players. One of their most important secret weapons was learning and practicing ballet. Known as the building block of dance technique, ballet uses precise and highly formalized set steps and movements. Classical ballet, which originated in Renaissance Italy and established its present form during the 19th century, is characterized by light, graceful and fluid movements.
“I really reject that kind of comparison that says, Oh, he is the best. This is the second best. There is no such thing.”